christmas time is here

Each year at the Elliott house, the Christmas season doesn’t officially start until we blast the Bing Crosby Classic “Mele Kalikimaka” through the house.  My kids get completely embarrassed by this, but I have to believe that they will carry on the tradition nonetheless.

For whatever reason, this year, I have been putting off kicking off the Christmas season.  Maybe once it starts, it means that my life is full tilt until the end of the year.  If I don’t listen to Bing, then the crazy won’t start.

All of us involved in church production are bracing ourselves for the busiest time of our year.  At Willow we throw around the idea of this is our Super Bowl.  This is the event that has the greatest outreach potential and we want to help create a memorable experience for first time visitors and long time members.

I am guessing that at most of our churches, people will come and have a warm and fuzzy Christmas experience, remembering God coming down to dwell among us in the form of a baby.  I would also guess that if people came to talk to the average technical artist at the average church, they would receive more of a cold and prickly, fried and crispy experience.  Many of us push ourselves past our limits and become numb to what Christmas is all about.  How could this year be different?

Put events in your calendar that say things like “STAY HOME” and “TAKE KIDS TO SCHOOL” or “HAVE A BREAKFAST DATE WITH MY WIFE”.  Do it now while you are still thinking clearly.  I tend to be really bad about thinking ahead on things like this and then when I am in the middle of the mess, I completely miss these opportunities.  I have noticed that when I am super intentional about the times I am home, we tend to have some of our best times together.  I know you are tired, but if you can be strategic with the time you are home, you will be glad you made the effort.

Make time to read through the Christmas story, or read through the prophesies about the Messiah in Isaiah.  Put yourself in the frame of mind for the Christmas season.  Remember why you are even doing production in the local church.  This is why.  For me, I love classical music and therefore I put Handel’s Messiah on repeat on my iPod and listen to all the amazing scripture concerning Christ and his coming.

I don’t know how many of you are having a service on Christmas morning, but this year, my wife had this great idea that our whole family should serve together.  I haven’t told my kids yet, but they are going to be running camera, helping with the stage team, I might even have someone help me with the FOH mix..I’m going to need all the help I can get, it’s been a while :)  The end result will be a family memory that involves everyone, instead of the family memory that involves Dad missing Christmas because he had to go to work.

What can you do this year to fight against burning yourself out this Christmas?  Yes we have a huge task ahead of us.  What do you have control over to make this a Christmas season to remember, for good reasons instead of the normal ones?